These are my notes from the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board Meeting on November 7, 2011. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. The official board meeting notes and handouts are available on BoardDocs Pro.
THIS IS MY FIRST OKCPS BOARD MEETING TO ATTEND AS A PARENT. I ARRIVED A LITTLE LATE DURING THE PRESENTATION ABOUT THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS PROGRAM. THIS IS THE PDF SHARED WITH THE BOARD, WHICH SHOWS TEST SCORES ARE IMPROVING FASTER IN SCHOOLS THAT ADOPT GREAT EXPECTATIONS. DURING THE MEETING, STEPHANIE BRICE ASKED VIA TWITTER WHY THE TEST SCORES SHOWED A BIG DROP FROM 2009 TO 2010? THAT QUESTION WAS NOT ASKED BY ANYONE AT THE BOARD MEETING. THE ELEMENTARY MATH SCORES WERE DISCUSSED, THE SPECIFIC GRAPHIC BELOW WAS SHOWN. IT WAS EXPLAINED THAT NON-GE SCHOOLS DID HAVE GREATER ABSOLUTE MATH SCORES THAN GE SCHOOLS, BUT THE GE SCHOOLS HAD A LARGER GAIN IN MATH SCORES DURING THE YEAR.
THIS DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS EXACTLY HOW MUCH WEIGHT/VALUE IS PLACED ON TEST SCORES BY OUR SCHOOL BOARDS AND ADMINISTRATORS TODAY. EVERYTHING IN TERMS OF DEMONSTRATING THE VALUE OF THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS PROGRAM IN TONIGHT’S MEETING CAME DOWN TO THE STATE TEST SCORE COMPARISONS.
AS A SIDE NOTE, IT DIDN’T APPEAR ANY PUBLIC WIFI ACCESS WAS/IS AVAILABLE IN THE BOARD MEETING ROOM FOR PARENTS AND OTHER ATTENDEES TO USE. I WAS/AM ONLINE VIA CELL PHONE TETHERING. IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR PUBLIC WIFI ACCESS TO BE PROVIDED DURING BOARD MEETINGS!
School Connect is an application for parents and stakeholders to download to an Android or iPhone to receive messages
– School Connect is a Norman based company specializing in K-12 mobile communications
– company was started in Norman Economic Development grant
This is a way to connect with with parents and guardians who don’t have a home computer or internet access
– this is free, but the company sells ad space
– school district has “first right of refusal on every advertisement”
Norman PS have already adopted this
District-level communications team sends out and monitors district level communications
– this is 1 way push notification messages
– not like Facebook where anyone can comment publicly
– only feedback is via email to webmaster or to principal
– must view the message before going to another screen
WILL have Smartweb access for students to check grades, attendance, etc.
MY THOUGHT: IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR THIS APP TO LINK TO SCHOOL BLOGS WITH EXAMPLES OF STUDENT WORK!
Norman PS took 3 days to get their approved
We will be 1st urban school district in the state to adopt this app
– we will be the 1st school district to offer the app in ‘true Spanish’ (Not ‘Google Spanish’)
Research shows Spanish speaking audience is the highest demographic carrying smartphones
MY THOUGHT: I’D LIKE TO SEE THAT RESEARCH AND DATA
Jay Means (school board member) asked if OKCPS is going to have a chance to share in the revenue stream / income with School Connect
Phil Horning asked who the founders of School Connect are (those who will profit from this)
– one is exec director, Dr Nick Migliorino (Director of Secondary Education for Norman PS)
– Steve McDaniel is partner
– they are tech gurus, have been involved in education a long time
MY COMMENTS: THIS IS INTERESTING AND A GOOD QUESTION BY JAY MEANS. IT’S CERTAINLY POSSIBLE FOR A SCHOOL DISTRICT LIKE OKCPS TO DEVELOP AND USE ITS OWN MOBILE APPLICATION, FOR WHICH IT COULD CONTROL ADS AND TAKE THAT AD REVENUE. IT’S AN APPROPRIATE QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT THE COMPANY WILL REVENUE SHARE AD INCOME WITH THE DISTRICT. IT WOULD ALSO BE APPROPRIATE (ALTHOUGH NOT ASKED) IF THE COMPANY WILL REPORT DATA ON ADS SHOWN AND REVENUE GENERATED.
The board voted to approve this action item on the agenda, Jay Means was the only board member voting against it.
The next discussion was the FY2012 “Estimate of Needs” for the district
No public comments this evening
K-12 Gear Up Grant report
– total amount is $27 million
Main purpose of the grant is to help give students experiences about what college is like
– presentation slides shared by Sheli McAdoo available as a PDF
The district will be hiring site coordinators as part of the grant
The next phase of the meeting was a discussion of the FY 2012 “Estimate of Needs.”
I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO UNDERSTAND THESE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF SCHOOL DISTRICT FUNCTIONING BETTER. THE MILL LEVY RATE WAS DISCUSSED AND COMPARISONS WITH NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS SHARED.
Discussions about counseling:
Phil Horning at tonight’s @okcps board meeting: “I am very opposed to pulling teachers out of the classroom for professional development”
– also opposed to students being pulled out of “their six hours of instruction” during the school day for any counseling services
Jay Means responded to Mr Horning’s comments discussing specific examples when students’ psychological conditions make it important for counseling to be available during class time
Now the board is recessing to executive session….
THIS CONCLUDES MY NOTES FOR TODAY! A SEVERE T-STORM IS DESCENDING ON THE CITY SO WE BETTER GET HOME. I’M SO GLAD TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND AN OKCPS BOARD MEETING IN PERSON AND START GETTING A FEEL FOR THE DIFFERENT BOARD MEMBERS AND THEIR PERSPECTIVES.
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